Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Wife Maker by Karey White -- Blog Tour/Spotlight

Wife MakerThe Wife Maker by Karey White
Charlotte has spent years as the husband maker, sending every guy she dates off to enjoy marital bliss with the next girl he dates. But things have now changed, and she’s determined to use her husband-maker abilities one last time–on herself. And she finally knows exactly who she wants.
Angus has loved Charlotte since they were teenagers, but he’s tired of waiting for her to realize how good they could be. She’s broken his heart one too many times, and it’s time to move on with his life. Maybe a position halfway across the country will be just what he needs to get over her. But when Charlotte won’t let him go without a fight, Angus has to decide if he’s willing to let her in again or if she’s too late.
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Karey WhiteAuthor Karey White
Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist.
She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.
Excerpt

My phone rang before six the next morning. Who would call that early on a Sunday? I rubbed my bleary eyes and looked at the screen. The number was unfamiliar and a strange configuration. I almost shut it off, but on a hunch, I answered the call.

“Charlotte, it’s Flynn.”

“Flynn? Is everything okay?”

“Aye. I think we should talk. Turn on your computer and call me.”

Ten minutes later, Flynn appeared on the screen of my laptop.

“What’s going on?”

“I think you should move to Kansas City.”

I laughed. “What are you talking about?”

“Don’t laugh. I’m not jokin’.”

“I can’t move to Kansas City. My job’s here. My family’s here. And I don’t think Angus would even want me to.”

“Ah, he’d say he doesn’t want ya to, but I’d wager that what he wants and what he says he wants are two different things.”

I shook my head. “You’re crazy. This is what you wanted me to call you for at this hour of the morning?”

“Aye. And hear me out. I’ve been chewin’ on this all day.”

I was touched that he’d been trying to figure out a way to help me, but this idea was insane. “I’m listening.”

“You say you’ll wait for him to come back.” I nodded. “What about him? You might be willing to wait for ten years, but what about Angus? He’ll be meeting new people. He won’t be waiting around. If ya want to cook a chicken, ya have to put him in while the water’s boilin’.”

I snickered. “I don’t even know what that means, Flynn.”

“Sure ya do. If ya wait ‘til the water’s all cooled down, good luck cooking the bird. Right now the water’s boilin’.”

“No it’s not. He doesn’t want anything to do with me.”

“That’s ’cause the water’s boilin’. If it weren’t, he’d talk to ya all day long. He’s just tryin’ not to get burned.”

There was an absurd and comforting logic to what he was saying. “Keep going.”

“There’s not much more to say. Move to Kansas City.”

“That’s easier said than done, Flynn.”

“Tell me this. What needs more attention? The things in San Francisco? Or the thing in Kansas City?”

I didn’t answer him. I didn’t know what to say.

“Charlotte, give him a grand gesture. Show ’im he’s more important than the things you’ve left behind.”

“Wow. I should never have answered the phone this morning.”

We laughed. “Think about it. It might work.”

“It might not. And then I’ll be two thousand miles away from my family and I’ll have given up the best job in the world and . . . It’s all so scary.”

“But you’re brave. And if it doesn’t work out, you can go back.”

“I thought you were my friend.”

Flynn didn’t say anything right away. He just smiled. When he finally spoke, his voice was soft. “I am.”
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$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 3/22/15
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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Cragbridge Hall: The Impossible Race by Chad Morris -- Spotlight

To celebrate the release of THE IMPOSSIBLE RACE, 
THE INVENTOR'S SECRET is $1.99 on Kindle!



From Chad Morris, author of The Inventer’s Secret and The Avatar Battle, the first two books of his highly acclaimed Cragbridge Hall series, comes THE IMPOSSIBLE RACE (Shadow Mountain; $18.99; ISBN: 978-1-609-07979-6), the final installment in the epic fantasy saga eagerly anticipated by fans everywhere. Morris yet again weaves an exhilarating adventure story around his beloved characters, bringing them together one last time to face the ultimate enemy: fate.

Morris and his books continue to garner positive reviews from established authors, schools, and communities across the country. The popular reception of the Cragbridge Hall series has led Morris to add extensive book tours and school visits to his already busy schedule.

Morris firmly believes that imagination is a help, not a hindrance, to lifelong learning, and his writing style reveals a unique flair for fusing fiction and nonfiction. “Kids, don’t be afraid to imagine and dream big,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to fantasize and see the world in a different way. Make what you read your own. As the great ones of history show us, reading and learning don’t suddenly end when school ends; they can and should be the exciting pursuit of a lifetime.”

ABOUT THE BOOK

Every year the futuristic school, Cragbridge Hall, holds its most popular tournament, the Race, a series of challenges that require the use of the school's amazing inventions, like its holographic time machine. But this year is different. Rather than a monetary or academic award, this year's winner will be the recipient of a carefully guarded school secret, a secret that could prove both powerful and dangerous.

Afraid that the secret may be one of their Grandfather's inventions, Abby and Derick gather their friends and enroll in the contest. But when Derick gets a mysterious message from the future, the team of friends must figure out how to succeed even when they know they are destined to fail. The stakes have never been higher in this page-turning, time-travel adventure that teaches powerful lessons about choice and consequence, believing in yourself, and valuing the lessons of history.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

CHAD MORRIS would love to be able to control animal avatars, see history in 3D, and show everyone how he imagines stories. Since the inventions that would make that possible currently exist only in his imagination, he settles for reading, writing, playing basketball, rappelling down an occasional slot canyon, dating his wife, and hanging out with his five awesome kids in his home state of Utah.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Wishing on Baby Dust by Lydia Winters

Wishing Baby Dust


Publisher: Snowflake Press

Published: January 2015

ASIN: B00R2BJ9K2

ebook: 322 pages

FTC FYI: Received a PDF copy in exchange for an honest 
review.

Goodreads Summary

Infertility stinks. No one knows that better than Megan. After six years of insanity-inducing hormone drugs and desperate prayers, all she has to show for her efforts are enough negative pregnancy tests to fill a bassinet. All around her women are accidentally getting pregnant—like her star piano student—while Megan remains hopelessly barren.

Megan’s never felt so alone. But she’s not the only one struggling.

Christina has just entered the world of infertility, made worse by the fact her husband isn’t ready to be a father. Their marriage, already hanging in the balance, is being torn apart.

Then there’s Kyra, the mother of a precocious three-year-old. She’s shocked to be struggling with secondary infertility. A baby is priceless, but sometimes Kyra feels like she’s being forced to choose which commandment to keep: stay out of debt, or multiply and replenish the earth.

When Megan and Christina are assigned as Kyra’s visiting teachers, they all realize that what you see isn’t necessarily what’s beneath the surface. Some secrets aren’t worth the cost of keeping them.

My Review

I absolutely loved this book.  Although I never struggled with infertility, my heart broke for these women and what they endured.  Having pregnancies of my own, I related to their feelings of wanting a baby.  The author did a fantastic job of capturing each woman's individual character, personality, and unique situation.  I cheered for them, laughed with them, and cried with them.  This book reads really fast, and I instantly was taken into the story.  I could tell the author did her homework when it came to the knowledge of procedures of infertility, having gone through it herself.  This book is perfect reminder for us all to kind and loving to each other, not truly knowing what the other may be going through.

5 out of 5 stars.  This is Lydia's debut novel.  Find out more about her with the links below.  I can't wait to read more from her.

Author Links


Purchase Links


Monday, March 2, 2015

Falling Slowly by Julie Coulter Bellon -- Cover Reveal/Giveaway

I am so excited to show you the cover Julie Bellon's new novella, Falling Slowly.  This one is a companion novella to All Fall Down and tells what happens to Claire and Rafe when they come home from Afghanistan.  

To celebrate cover reveal day, Julie is offering you a giveaway!  Since Claire and Rafe are dating and getting to know each other in this novella, I want to know---what do you consider to be a romantic date?  Is it a candlelight dinner? A hike? A bike ride? A movie? Star-gazing? A moonlit stroll? 
Tell me your ideas!  Everyone who comments with their idea of a romantic date will be entered to win an ebook copy of BOTH All Fall Down AND Falling Slowly.

Okay, are you ready?

*drum roll*

Here it is!


Book Summary

Rafe Kelly never thought he’d fall in love with Claire Michaels, the hostage negotiator sent to get him out of a life or death situation.  Though it was easy to see from the beginning that Claire was good at her profession, Rafe quickly realized she was even better for him personally―and that they might have a future together. 

When they get back from their mission in Afghanistan, however, Claire goes back to the Hostage Negotiation Team and Rafe is left to deal with the huge hole in his life after leaving the SEALs.  Trying to balance an uncertain future with a new relationship is made even more complicated when a family crisis strikes.  Will Rafe and Claire be able to turn to each other for strength or are they over before they've really begun? 

Falling Slowly will be released at the end of March!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Dearest by Alethea Kontis -- Grand Finale Post

A themed tour with Prism Book Tours.

We're launching the BOOK TOUR for
Dearest
By Alethea Kontis

Did you miss any of the magical posts and reviews for this tour?
Go check them out now! You can also grab the 20th Chapter of Dearest, 
not previously released, on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Lilac Reviews - Tips for Writing a Series
The Arilland Easter Egg Page: Iíve always been a big fan of DVD extras, so I created a page on my website where I list handy links to essays, videos, stories, articles and the like that are some how connected to the series. You can find it here: http://aletheakontis.com/about/arilland
Wishful Endings - The Wild Swans Rant
"The Wild Swans", along with "The Little Mermaid" and "The Little Match Girl" has always been one of my favorite stories by Hans Christian Andersen. (It's also, notably, one of the only HCA stories in which the main characters DON'T DIE.)

Special post @ Waterworld Mermaids - Learn some fun facts about Alethea!

The Book Lovers' Lounge - Review
I would still recommend this book to anyone who loves their fairy tales and romance books.

Wings trip [Alethea's] fiction trigger @ USA Today's Happy Ever After

Buried Under Books - Review
I love FridayóI think sheís my favorite of the sisters so far mainly because sheís so sweet and kindóand Tristan is also very likeable but itís the seven brothers as a group who make this tale so much fun.

Mommabears Book Blog - Holy "L" Trinity
But when it came to fantasy films, we had what we lovingly referred to as "The Holy L Trinity": Legend, Labyrinth, and Ladyhawke. It was rare that we watched one without immediately watching the other two. It didn't matter which order, just as long as they all got seen.

Rabid Reads - Review
Highly recommended. If you love fairy tales, you will love this series. Even if you are among the majority who only know Disneyís version of events, you will love this series. Donít be scared off by the mutual affection Kontis and I have for Grimm, b/c while, YES, the details stay true to their European roots, the Woodcutter sisters always live happily ever after. 

Gidget Girls Reading - Spotlight
Wonderful addition to the Woodcutter Sisters series! Dearest is sure to capture the reader and keep them wanting more.

7 Minutes with... Alethea Kontis @ J.T. Ellison

Zerina Blossom - Review
Dearest was a sweet romance and a fantastic mix of some of my favorite fairytales. ìThe Seven Swansî and ìThe Goose Girlî were but two of them. I loved the way the stories were once again intermingled in new and intriguing ways. Fridayís love story was one worth reading again.

Geo Librarian - Review
When it comes to fairy tale retellings it can be challenging to present the story in a new enough way to win over readers since the basic story is known beforehand.  But Kontis does a nice job here of adding enough new elements to make the story feel fresh and new.  And while the plot is thoroughly entertaining, it is the characters that really make the story worth reading.

Welcome to Book City - Interview

What is your favorite fairy tale?

My favorite fairy tale has always been ìThe Goose Girl.î It's the reason Conrad is one of the main characters in Dearest! Conrad was the clever boy who reported to the king that there was something fishy about the girl he tended the geese with...like the fact that she knew how to call the wind. . . . My second-favorite fairy tales are ìSnow White and Rose Redî and ìThe Twelve Dancing Princesses.î

Angela's Library - Q&A
Dearest is based in part on ìThe Wild Swansî by Hans Christian Andersen and ìThe Goose Girlî by the Brothers Grimm. How are both of these tales referenced in Dearest?
I reread ìThe Wild Swansî again before I started writing Dearest ó itís amazing how much detail that story goes into. Elisa has 11 brothers who are cursed into swans by a wicked sorceress stepmother who quickly turns the kingís heart against his children. She also tries to curse Elisa, but her heart is so pure that the sorceress is forced to make Elisa physically ugly to serve her purpose...

Kelly P's Blog - A Weave of Words Fairy Tale Rant Intro
The book, out of print now (but still fairly easy to acquire), is about a lazy prince and a weaver's daughter. In order to win her heart, the prince learns to read and write and weave. In return, the weaver's daughter learns to ride a horse and fight with a sword.

Mel's Shelves - Review
This book has plenty for everyone--humor, romance, secrets, danger, adventure and magic. I think I would enjoy it even more the second time through since there are references I most likely missed. There's more to come in this series so I'm sure I'll read through all of them again in the future. If you enjoy adventurous fairytale mash-ups, you'll want to start reading this series now!

Jan Edwards - Q&A
What are you up to next?
This year I will be publishing Diary of a Mad Scientist Garden Gnome(another illustrated collaboration with Janet K. Lee), Trixter (a Woodcutter novella), and a trilogy of short contemporary romance novels set in a small beach town in central Florida. Iím very excited about all of them!

Katie's Clean Book Collection - Review
I loved the way different fairy tales were twisted and mashed up. . . . It really was a lot of fun to see where the story would go. I need to go back and read the first two!

A Backwards Story - I Dedicate This Post To You (Review HERE)
One of my favorite parts of a book is the dedication. Before the interwebs, a dedicationóbecause there wasn't always an acknowledgements section or author's note, especially in fictionówas the closest a reader came to knowing the author as a person.

Wishful Endings - Review
I loved all the nods to various folklore and fairy tales. The author is definitely a master at blending different tales while making them completely original and her own. . . . I would highly recommend Dearest as well as this entire series.

Library of a Book Witch - Review
I loved that this focused on the Fairy Tale of the seven swans and not only that but also another story that I am familiar with. . . . The story is so fast moving I flew through the book (like a swan, get it, ha!) but it was just so engaging. So many wonderful things come together to keep the plot moving. So many wonderful characters.

The Quotable - Fairy Tales Incorporated
Iím often asked which fairy tales Iím putting into the next installment of the Woodcutter Sisters series, or how many Iíve already included, or which ones are my favorites, or which ones inspire me the most. Rarely do I get the question of HOW I incorporate all these fairy tales into the bouillabaisse that is the Once Upon a Time of Arilland ó which is probably a good thing, because itís not a short answer...


Biggest Literary Crushes post on Teen Reads

The Written Adventure - Interview
2) What gave you the idea for this book?
I always start each one of the Woodcutter Sisters books with a ìbase noteî fairy tale (like a base note in perfume). The base note for Dearest was ìThe Wild Swansî (aka ìThe Six Swansî). But I can't think of fine-feathered fairy tales without thinking of my personal favorite, ìThe Goose Girlî...so I had to add that too. From there, the rest just sort of fell into place.

My Life Loves and Passion - Review
To start with I LOVED this cover. It was just so beautiful. . . . I just loved how this story started. It was so magical. I really loved just everything about this book!

Colorimetry - Swan Lake Fairy Tale Rant & Review
When I began writing Dearest, I knew I wanted to incorporate "The Goose Girl" and "The Wild Swans" and "The Six Swans" and every other fairy tale that involves a gaggle of men who are cursed into birds. . . . This was my favorite book in the series so far and not just because I rec'd an early review copy that Alethea signed and doodled, although... I 5-star love that, too.  Mostly 5 stars because this story makes me want to know and remember ALL the stories, which is crazy and not even possible because they haven't all been written, yet!

I Am A Reader - The Casting of the Swans
As many writersóand children in Deep-Doodoo Troubleóknow, the best stories are often an amalgamation of more than one thing. One idea comes to mind that sparks a myriad of other ideasÖsome you might have had a very long time ago, and some you might have imagined only yesterday. . . . The seven Swan Brothers of Dearest were a story born of three such singular ideas.

The Library of the Seen - Interview
What are some of your favorite fairy tale retellings?
Beauty and Deerskin, both by Robin McKinley (she's the fairy tale retelling queen!) Also, A Curse Dark As Gold, a Rumplestiltskin retelling by Elizabeth C. Bunce. And the movie Ever After...which in many ways inspired Enchanted (because I loved the film so much and still wanted to do my own Cinderella.)

18 - Special post on Dear Teen Me - Letter to her teen BFF

Printcess & Living a Goddess Life - Review
You recall my earlier review of the first two in the series, Enchanted and Hero. Well, I actually liked this one the best. Kontis appears to be improving in style and scope with each book, which makes for a nice change!

Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf - Interview
2 Do you read/comment on reviews of your books?
I do! I donít have a lot of time to do so anymoreñand I often hear that reviewers are sometime freaked out when the author pops by unannouncedñbut I do have Google Alerts and Twitter searches saved with my name. (Itís nice to be the only Alethea Kontis on the planet!) I appreciate every reader who takes the time to write a review. I used to be a book reviewer, both in print and onlineñI know how much extra energy it takes to put those thoughts into useful words.

100 Pages A Day - Review
Tristan is the serious brother that Friday falls for- and is mostly instant love since they only see each other at night, but the romance was painted as genuine and this is a fairy tale. For any lover of fairy tales and re-tellings this would be a good series to pick up.

mrsjennyreads - Review
An enchanting delight of a story, this is true fantasy fun. Kontis, I believe, may be wielding magic of her own.

Books and Ashes - Review
I really enjoyed this story though because it was everything I wanted to know and more about what was happening in Arilland while Saturday was adventuring as a pirate (which was my favorite part about Hero) and this book gave me that and more by the time I finished it. I canít wait to see which sister is next in the series!

Addicted Readers - Seamstress Extraordinaire
In the Woodcutter series, I had to coin the phrase "Seamstress Extraordinaire," because the publisher did not like that I called Yarlitza Mitella a Master Seamstress. They asked if I could change it to Mistress...but a Master at a craft is not a Mistress, no matter what their sex. There are female Jedi Masters, for heaven's sake. All the D&D Guild Masters--men or women--were Masters.

Miss Little Book Addict YA House of Books - Review
"World building and humor in DEAREST was nicely done. Alethea also gets major points for taking such well know fairy tales and making them her own..."

Katy's Krazy Books - Review
So I thought that the plot was really good.  Friday is an awesome chick that I just wish I could be.  I mean who doesnít want to be able to save a couple of hot twins from turning into swans each day.  Not to mention, the girl gets to do the saving in this story, NOT the guy.

The Daily Prophecy - Fairy Tale Rant on Tristan & Isolde
I have found that, during the process of writing a novel, I am drawn to certain entertainments in my off time. While writing Enchanted, I watched a lot of Jane Austen movies. While writing Hero, I was very drawn to the Summer Olympics...especially the women's swimming competitions. While writing Dearest, I re-watched most of Stargate: Atlantis...and all of Merlin.

Deal Sharing Aunt - Interview
Where do you get your information or ideas?
I get information from everywhere--people, when I can find them, books, when I have them close at hand, and the internet, when I need something simple to move the story forward, like the anatomy and habits of a swan.

Min Reads and Reviews - Review
I absolutely loved this book.  The story is told beautifully and quite magically, as well.  I have not read the previous books in the series, but I am putting them high on my TBR list.  I loved absolutely Friday, and I enjoyed getting to know some of her sisters.

Pieces of Whimsy - The Goose Girl
I first read "The Goose Girl" when I was eight years old, from the giant book of fairy tales my Memere bought me (no doubt in the hopes that it might keep me busy for a while). No matter how old I've become and what adventures I've undertaken, "The Goose Girl" has been my favorite fairy tale since that day.

Wonderous Reviews - Review
The journey that Dearest takes readers on is more than I can put into words without spoiling at least one discovery. I will say that this book is perfect for those that enjoy a story that will inspire and enchant! There is beautiful love, heart pounding action, fantasy and flying, magic and sorcery, destiny and fate, kindness and curses, and a little something for everyone!

The Scribbling Sprite - Interview
6. Any plans for future books you can share with us?
In the next six months, I will be publishing Diary of a Mad Scientist Garden Gnome (another illustrated collaboration with Janet K. Lee), Trixter (a Woodcutter novella), and a trilogy of short contemporary romance novels set in a small beach town in central Florida. I'm very excited about all of them!

A Backwards Story - The Missing Last Chapter of Dearest
Alethea talks about Dearest being short one chapter and that you can now read the final chapter.

Dearest (Woodcutter Sisters, #3)Dearest
(Woodcutter Sisters, #3)
by Alethea Kontis
YA Fantasy
Hardcover & ebook, 320 Pages
February 3rd 2015 by HMH Books for Young Readers

ìA fabulous fairy-tale mashup that deserves hordes of avid readers. Absolutely delectable.î óKirkus Reviews, starred review of award-winning series debut Enchanted

Readers met the Woodcutter sisters (named after the days of the week) in Enchanted and Hero. In this delightful third book, Alethea Kontis weaves together some fine-feathered fairy tales to focus on Friday Woodcutter, the kind and loving seamstress. When Friday stumbles upon seven sleeping brothers in her sister Sundayís palace, she takes one look at Tristan and knows heís her future. But the brothers are cursed to be swans by day. Can Fridayís unique magic somehow break the spell?

The Other Woodcutter Sisters Books
 Hero (Woodcutter Sisters #2)
Links for Enchanted
Links for Hero

Alethea Kontis courtesy of Lumos Studio 2012
New York Times bestselling author Alethea Kontis is a princess, a fairy godmother, and a geek. Sheís known for screwing up the alphabet, scolding vampire hunters, and ranting about fairy tales on YouTube.

Her published works include: The Wonderland Alphabet (with Janet K. Lee), Diary of a Mad Scientist Garden Gnome (with Janet K. Lee), the AlphaOops series (with Bob Kolar), the Woodcutter Sisters fairy tale series, and The Dark-Hunter Companion (with Sherrilyn Kenyon). Her short fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared in a myriad of anthologies and magazines.

Her YA fairy tale novel, Enchanted, won the Gelett Burgess Childrenís Book Award in 2012 and the Garden State Teen Book Award i 2015. Enchanted was nominated for the Audie Award in 2013, and was selected for World Book Night in 2014. Both Enchanted and its sequel, Hero, were nominated for the Andre Norton Award.

Born in Burlington, Vermont, Alethea currently lives and writes in Florida, on the Space Coast. She makes the best baklava youíve ever tasted and sleeps with a teddy bear named Charlie.


Tour-Wide Giveaway

3 Woodcutter Sisters Prize Packs (signed copies of Enchanted, Hero, & Dearest - US Only)
Ends March 8th


Prism Book Tours

Winter in the Soul by Jennifer Novotney -- Book Blast

Winter in the Soul CoverWinter in the Soul by Jennifer Novotney
In a world divided by power and greed, seventeen-year-old Lilika harbors an intense desire to return to Winter in the Soul, the place her family left to escape the darkness that was manifesting from a coldness of the soul.
When she meets Talon, their connection is evident right from the start, and together they travel through the Black Kingdom to recover Lilika’s stolen locket. And in search of an answer to the mystery behind Winter in the Soul.
Lilika holds the key to stopping the darkness from spreading. The fate of their world lies in her hands. Will she stop the Black Kingdom before its darkness overtakes them all, or will they succumb to the darkness that is spreading across the land?
add to goodreads
Praise for the Book
“This book is original, cleverly written and most of all a great read.”
“This novel is very suspenseful and can be enjoyed by young and old alike.”
“I really, really liked the story line, it is fresh take in the high fantasy/magic genre.”

EXCERPT: CHAPTER ONE
Spring Bloom
Pulling her blond locks away from her face, Lilika headed outside her cozy house to do her morning chores. When she hit the doorway, she stopped and lifted her face skyward, soaking in the sun’s beams. She reveled in the heat beating down on her and the feeling of warmth that bathed her skin.
She walked to the garden and sat down. Lilika pulled the weeds with the sun shining on her. Her fingers ran across something smooth.
“What is this?” she muttered to herself, digging quickly to try to see just what was in there. She exposed something gleaming from underneath the brown soil.
What could be under the dirt here? She pulled out a gold heart locket from the garden bed. It glittered in an almost magical way, like nothing she’d ever seen before.
“Lilika!” Jet yelled through the open kitchen window. “It’s almost time for school.”
She shoved the locket in her pocket. “Okay! I’m coming.” Her little brother could be such a nuisance sometimes. She would have to wait until later to inspect her find up-close.
“Hello,” a female voice came from behind her.
“Hello?” She jumped up and turned around, shielding her eyes from the sun.
It was so bright, all she saw was a figure blocking out the light, a black silhouette outlined by the sun’s rays. As her eyes adjusted to the change in light, the figure became clearer and clearer: A beautiful, golden-hued woman stood before Lilika.
“Lilika,” the woman said.
How does she know my name?
“Lil! It’s time to go,” her brother yelled again.
She whipped her head around. “Okay, I’m coming.” By the time she turned back, the golden woman was gone.
She stood, walked to the side of the house, and peered around the corner, but the golden woman wasn’t there. She swiveled her head to each side, but didn’t see her. Could this all have just been a figment of her imagination? Maybe sitting in the sun was affecting her. Butterflies danced in her stomach at the thought of the locket she’d found, and she hurried into the house to get ready for school.

***

The mile-long walk to school was a quiet one except for Jet humming to himself. Children said goodbye to their parents and walked out of their rural homes surrounded by lush green grass and foliage, through the center of Spring Bloom. Boys in button down shirts and long pants and girls in light colored, pastel dresses lined the walkways when Lilika and Jet got closer and closer to their destination. Lilika walked along with a solemn expression on her face.
She couldn’t help but think about the golden woman, whether she’d simply imagined her or if their conversation had really happened. What did it mean? She couldn’t tell Jet or their mother or father. They wouldn’t believe her. Something was actually happening to her for a change.
The sun cast bright light over all the individual stone cottages and gardens.
“Good morning, Lilika!” Mr. Woodland waved from his garden.
“Good morning.” Lilika hurried toward school.
“Lil! Slow down,” Jet said.
“Come on,” she said with pursed lips, “we’re going to be late.”
More and more residents filtered out of their houses, tending to their gardens, trimming their bushes, and cleaning windows of their homes. With every stone cottage Lilika passed, the people smiled and waved. She greeted everyone with a wave and picked up her pace once she reached the hill.
Standing in front of the school, she paused and caught her breath before opening the classroom door.
“So, do you want to do something after school? Maybe we can go for a walk or something.” Bryony stopped her just outside the door. Lilika had been friends with her for as long as she could remember.
“Oh, I can’t.” Lilika sighed. “I have to do my chores right away when I get home since I didn’t have time to do all of them this morning.”
“Well, I found something I thought you might be interested in.” Bryony pulled out a big book from her backpack and wiped the dust off of it.
Lilika whipped her head around. “What? What is that?”
“It’s called The History of Winter in the Soul.” Bryony moved her fingers along the raised gold title on the front. “It’s all about Wits.” Bryony opened it and read from the book. “It was a cold that could only manifest out of the coldness in the soul. That is how Wits got to be known as the Winter in the Soul.”
“What are you doing?” Violet butted in. Great, she was always putting her nose where it didn’t belong.
“Nothing. Keep your voice down.” Lilika glanced toward the window to make sure no one was looking. Leave it to Violet to try and join in with them when they were trying not to bring attention to themselves.
“What do you have there, Bryony?” Violet put her hand on Bryony’s shoulder to get a glimpse.
“Nothing.” Lilika shook her head.
“Well, what is it? What’s so interesting?” Violet leaned in closer.
“Oh, please,” Lilika whispered, “just stop. Someone’s going to see, and then we’ll all be in trouble. Just mind your own business and leave us alone. Go, go on.” Lilika waved her hand at Violet.
“Fine.” Violet rolled her eyes and stormed off.
“Bryony, you really shouldn’t have that book. Where did you get it anyway?”
“I found it under my parent’s bed. Aren’t you curious about Wits?”
“I am, but…”
“But what?”
The golden locket popped into Lilika’s head. Who was she to tell Bryony not to ask questions about Wits? She had questions of her own.
“Nothing, come on, we’d better get inside. We’re going to be late.”
Bryony shoved the book back inside her backpack and followed Lilika into school.

JenniferAuthor Jennifer Novotney
Jennifer Novotney was born in Burbank, California and lived in Los Angeles for most of her life until settling in North Eastern Pennsylvania with her husband and daughter. She attended California State University, earning a bachelors degree in journalism, and Northern Arizona University, earning a masters degree in English. After college, she spent several years writing and teaching, including at Pennsylvania State University.

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